Plans to develop Seaton Park revealed

ARBROATH Sporting Club could be forced to look for a home elsewhere in the town if councillors agree to make Seaton Park surplus to requirements and put it up for redevelopment.

At yesterday’s (Thursday) meeting of Angus Council’s education committee, officers were recommending that the park be deemed surplus to education requirements.

The junior football club, which is now in its 40th anniversary season, has been using the pitch since 1986 when the signed a 25-year agreement with Angus Council to lease the park for matches and training.

Local schools and other community groups also use the facility and car boot sales, organised by ASC, are often held at the park.

If agreed, ASC’s lease which runs out in May of this year would be extended for an extra year until May 2012, and the council say they would help the club to find a new venue.

And if the plans are approved, ASC vice-president Barry Munro is hopeful the local authority will help the club to move a new home.

He told the Herald: “We knew that the lease was coming up for renewal in May of this year and at the minute we don’t really know what is going to happen.

“We could get it extended for another season which would keep us at Seaton Park until 2012, but I am sure and hopeful the council will help us to find somewhere else.”

In a report circulated at the meeting, education director Neil Logue said the site had been earmarked as potential land where a new school to possibly replace Hayshead Primary could be built.

He explained: “Although the site is on the education account as a potential location for a school, it is now unlikely it will be used for this purpose.

“Preferably the size of a site for a new school to meet the needs of the local community would be at least two hectares. This compares to the Seaton Park site which is 1.8 hectares.

“In addition, while the existing Hayshead school building is undoubtedly in need of improvement, the School Estate Management Plan indicates that parts of the building are in good condition, and while some aspects require re-design this could be achieved without complete replacement.

“This approach has been endorsed by the Hayshead Parent Council.”

If councillors agree to the proposals the report would go back before the neighbourhood services committee which could then start a consultation to decide how best to redevelop the land.

The report adds: “In order to progress this proposal it is important to work closely with relevant organisations/partners and determine what is the best use of Seaton Park in the wider context of Arbroath.

“Arbroath Sporting Club’s lease is due for renewal in May 2011. It is proposed that the lease be renegotiated to better reflect current usage and continue for a maximum period of one year ending in May 2012.

“This would provide an opportunity to discuss with the club their longer term needs, including the possibility of relocating the football pitch as well as the car boot sales.”